Jenny Bannister Raids the Archives

Iconic fashion designer Jenny Bannister started her own label in Melbourne at the height of the 1970s radical fashion movement. Inspired by punk, her label Jenny Bannister Fashion was known for its distinctive and creative approach to design that incorporated plastic, metal, fur and found objects.

Bannister led the recycled fashion movement and in 1986, she was picked in a group of designers to represent emerging Australian fashion for US department store Neiman Marcus. Her clothes evolved into couture and contemporary evening wear with a loyal celebrity following.

Major art galleries and museums and private collections around the world have snapped up Bannister’s designs for their archives, including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australian National Gallery, Powerhouse Museum, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Washington’s Smithsonian.

Now the designer – and RMIT alumnus – is taking a good look inside RMIT’s own Cultural Collections to curate an exhibition that reflects RMIT University’s history as an incubator of design in all its forms.

In 1970 Andy Warhol was invited by the Rhode Island School of Design to curate Raid the Icebox, an exhibition with works from the collection. The results were unconventional and surprising.

Fast forward some 50 years later, what will legendary punk designer Jenny Bannister discover when she raids the RMIT Art Collection and RMIT Design Archives?

Image: Jurassic Skin Collection, designed by Jenny Bannister, c. 1984. Photograph by Derek Hughes. [Colour slide, Gift of Jenny Bannister 2014, RMIT Design Archives Collection]


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